Back in late May, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes told our own Scot Kersgaard that a complaint filed against him by a Grand Junction man alleging numerous campaign finance violations was “very frivolous.”
Now, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Maes’s campaign has admitted to the violations in filings with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and will likely be hit with the largest campaign finance fine in state history – nearly $27,000.
“I talked to the lawyer who filed it and told him to make it go away,” Maes told Kersgaard. “I told him this is frivolous; you need to dismiss it. This is a very frivolous lawsuit.”
Grand Junction resident Christopher Klitzke filed a complaint against Maes in May, alleging the Evergreen businessman has improperly reimbursed himself for thousands of dollars in mileage and accepted illegal corporate contributions.
The Sentinel reports Maes has paid himself $44,837 for mileage since last summer.
“It was as clear as day when you start seeing tens of thousands of dollars flowing from the campaign to his personal account,” Grand Junction attorney Erik Grove, who’s handling Klitzke’s complaint, told the paper. “I’ve been doing campaign finance litigation for six, seven years now, and this immediately sends up a red flag when you see tons of itemized money flowing from the candidate’s account. As time went by, it got worse. He was transferring $9,000 at one time from his campaign account.”
Maes’s campaign did not immediately respond to the Sentinel story, but in a response filed by two Denver attorneys, Maes did not dispute the allegations and agreed to pay all fines.
Maes also paid his daughter $5,200 as an assistant, although a Secretary of State’s Office spokesman told the Independent in May that such practices are not unheard of.
Maes faces an Aug. 10 primary election against former six-term Republican Congressman Scott McInnis, with the winner taking on Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in November.